Comedian Katt Williams has been paying close attention to the recent physical assaults on comics like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock. But the prolific comic once shared he felt some responsibility for these attacks. This was because the superstar wondered if his influence might have inspired others to harm his peers.
Katt Williams agrees that there should be certain boundaries in comedy
Katt Williams | Donald Kravitz/Getty Images
Williams has made some very noteworthy statements in his comedic career. But one of his most surprising statements has been regarding cancel culture. Some might have expected him to disagree with the idea of cancel culture considering how outspoken the Wild n’ Out alum usually is. But Williams surprised everyone by vouching for the concept, as he felt that boundaries should be in place.
In an interview with The Ringer, the comedian asserted he wasn’t out to maliciously offend anyone. To avoid doing so, he’d like to be aware of what lines to cross to modify his joke.
“I don’t want to call somebody something that I shouldn’t call them,” he said. “When if I had known that, I could’ve found something else to call them. Nobody likes the speed limit, but it’s there for a reason. No one wants to be on the shoulder of the road because it’s bumpy, but that’s to wake you up to get back in lane.”
But to Williams, cancel culture also meant that comedians had to adapt to changing circumstances. And Williams welcomed the challenge.
“So as a comedian, the rules are always changing and we understand that because in comedy every single comedy show is different than the one you had before,” he told Okay Player. “There are different people, different things have happened and you’re different. So as comedians, when they move the goalposts, that don’t stop the game for me. Adjust and who adjusts first and most cleanly are the best ones.”
Williams cited his controversial interview with radio host Wanda Smith as the turning point. As many know, Williams was involved in a light verbal exchange that saw him joking around with the radio host. Because Smith took offense to these jokes, her husband would later physically confront Williams.
“But when we allow the situation where I was talking with a comedian and we were roasting each other — even though I didn’t call her out of her name or do anything degrading — it was still okay for her 400-pound husband to come later with a gun and try to end my life,” he said.
Williams felt his actions created a climate where others felt it was acceptable to physically attack comedians like Rock and Chappelle.
“Because I didn’t have that man go to jail and ruin that family, it starts to create a culture where it says you can hurt these people. We should be protected. So I wasn’t able to voice it appropriately and when things are in the atmosphere and they don’t get tended to, it’s a snowball effect,” he said.
Williams has had opinions on many issues over the years that some might consider hot takes. But the comedian has felt that he’s softened up on certain attitudes that he had during his younger years. This was due to the personal experiences he’s had over the years that he feels helped changed him.
“If you’ve ever read the Harry Potter books or any of these great collections, the reason it works is if you’re involved in the story and know how it’s set up, you’re able to easily follow along. With me, you see the softening of my attitude about certain things because I learned new things,” he said. “It’s a true body of work so I think that’s what I’m most proud of. It’s based on the people that I’ve been able to have these conversations with. There needs to be no expectation on this. It’s probably my best work but that’s just because I’m probably better now than I’ve ever been.”
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